Department of Transportation

Library at DOT

I have an idea, but it's more internal to DOT than a direct savings to the public; it's more of an indirect cost savings. I believe a study needs to be done to see if there is still a need for a DOT library here in HDQ. The few times I have been to the library, I seem to be the only person in there with no other customers. Many of the journals and publications on the shelves can now be accessed on-line, and I wonder why the library needs to continue to store these printed materials. As DOT wants to go greener, I think it could be a cost savings to not subscribe to printed periodicals and buy printed books that are available on-line. Staffing could be reduced there, too, if it turned into an electronic reference library. There could be other cost savings to DOT such as reutilizing the space for offices, conference rooms, or even a DOT records center for official documents that still need to be retained in paper form. On this latter note, this would save thousands of dollars that are currently going to pay for storage, retrieval, and refiling of documents offsite at the Federal records center in Suitland, Maryland (for HDQ records). Even though offices are storing more records electronically on SharePoint and shared drives, DOT does not currently have an electronic document management/records management system to properly store electronic information, and DOT policy is to print and file paper copies of official records. Some other Federal Departments have their own records centers (like the Department of State), so this is not a new concept. Not to knock the librarians there because they are usually very helpful, but I think the library takes up too much space and appears to be underutilized and could be used for other purposes. -- IDEA ORIGINALLY SUBMITTED BY VICTOR WAGHER, FHWA, DOT (202-366-6672)

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Idea No. 16612